All posts for the month July, 2012

Howdy folks, I have something a little different today: Terrain!

One of my duties as an Event Organizer for the NOVA Open is to construct terrain for the various games.  All the EOs get together on the weekends and blitz terrain so that we can get all the pieces done on time.   Many hands make quick work of things, and that leaves more time for hanging out and beer!

One of the unique challenges of WM/H Event Organization is the difference in our terrain needs, compared to those of 40k / Fantasy, Infinity or Flames of War.  While 40k tables like big sets of ruins and multi-tiered hills, WM/H terrain us usually more sublime.  Where Infinity tables need a cityscape with lots of LOS blockage, WM/H tends to have plenty of open space.  Hills need to be 1″ tall, so they don’t block LOS, for instance.  We also need several linear obstacles (per table) in order to break up said open spaces, and we gotta have lots, and lots of trees!  Forests are a huge part of any WM/H encounter, but they’re far less frequent in, say, the Grim, Dark Future.

Today, I want to send you over to the NOVA Preparation Blog: The Road to NOVA.  Two Terrain sessions ago, Bob (The Minister of Terrain) and I sat down to build some 30+ fences and barricades to use as linear obstacles for some of the WM/H tables.  He liked the design I had come up with, and wrote a tutorial on how we made the fences.  Check it out here, or click the picture below.

“You can’t beat cheap, good looking terrain!” is the motto around the NOVA shop, and it really holds true when you have to make terrain on convention level scales.

The Barricades we made use the same pieces as the upright posts in the fences.  1/8″ x 1/8″ x 1″ balsa.  (These were 2 1/4″ length sticks purchased from Michael’s that were simply cut in half).  You take three of them, and glue them into a star pattern, and then toss three of them onto a 1″ x 4″ base with some scale razor wire.  BAM: Barricade.

I hope you enjoyed this little change-up with some terrain, I’ve certainly enjoyed working on terrain lately.  I’ve learned all sorts of nifty (and thrifty) ways to do things.

If you’re interested in checking out what is available at the NOVA, be sure to checkout their website:  The NOVA is in less than a month!

Welcome to the Thursday edition of TtT.

Today, I’m going to go over my process for sculpting the ribbons onto the arms of the Cinerator/Bastions.  I use a size 0, tapered point color shaper for smoothing the greenstuff, a hard tool for major shaping, and a knife for cutting away excess putty.

Tools of the trade

Each model has a big hole in the arm where the peg on the shield goes.  This needs to be trimmed a bit.  The extra material represents the bindings holding the shield onto the arm.  Since the shield is gone now, that stuff needs to go, and the hole needs to be filled in.  Also, don’t forget to remove the bits of handle on the top and bottom of the fist.

Trimmed & filled.

I rolled up a bunch of greenstuff, and rolled it into a ball, which I then rolled into an ice cream cone.

Cone of greenstuff

The cone gets stuck onto the model…

Blob of Greenstuff

I then put a bit of chapstick onto the metal tool, and cut the blob roughly in half, vertically.

Cut into two ribbons

Then, each of the two pieces got flattened a bit.


Once this is done, I shoved the ribbon on our left (the model’s right) towards the middle of the model, and flattened the other one out into a general shape.  Then, using the color shaper, the putty  was smoothed a shaped more.

Smoothed out ribbon

I use the shaper to smooth the putty by drawing it along the greenstuff.  Since the silicone tip is pliable, you can be very gentle, and push the putty around subtly.

Rinse, repeat for the second ribbon.

Repeat for the second ribbon

Then, I added some motion by tweaking the tips of the squared off ends, and shifting the bottoms a bit to one side.  When considering the look for the motion in the ribbons, look for source photos, or grab a necktie and swing it around.  You’ll notice the bottom trails the top, and is often pointing the direction opposite the movement.

Add some motion

To show a change in movement, have the top and bottom heading in the same direction, with the middle trying to catch up. Take the entire pose into account – I often have to get up out of my chair and stage myself into the model’s pose to see what sort of motion it may be in the middle of.

In this case, I figured the arm was moving upwards, and across the body (likely as the other arm thrusts forward), so I trailed the ribbons towards the outside of the body.

Another angle, showing the motion in the ribbons

The last bit for this is the knot at the top of the ribbon, where everything gets tied together.  I start with a super small ball, and squish it flat.  Then, I square up the sides, and put it ono the top of the ribbon.

The knot on top

And that’s it!  I used the same techniques on the last two models, and I’ll likely re-do the one that I did on the first model, since it no longer matches these new ribbons (which have much more depth).

Finished unit

I added a special ribbon to the unit leader’s weapon, and when painted, will really highlight his halberd.

Leader’s special ribbon

Last week, I covered my Cinerator into Bastion conversion.  A few questions / requests were brought up – namely if a 2-handed model was possible, and a more in-depth look at sculpting the ribbons.

Today, I’ll cover the 2-handed pose I was able to make, and Thursday, I’ll have more on the sculpting.

I started with the usual collection of bits:


This is trooper #3, the one looking to his left.  I chose this pose because the left arm is posed across the front of the model’s body, which meant I only needed to re-position one arm, rather than both.

The right am got cut off where it joined the bulb on the shoulder, and would later get pinned back on.  For now, though, here’s a look at where the cuts were made in the upper half of the  pole arm.  I cut right at the transition from the knurling to the bare shaft, and then cut about half the bare part off, leaving about a hand’s width behind:

The right arm should be flipped over, it’ll be palm up in the final pose.

Holes got drilled through each fist as well as into each part of the weapon.  Pins were glued into each end of the middle part, and then the arms were fit over.

Sub Assembly

At this point, I pinned the re-posed arm into place, roughly where I thought it should be.  Then, I took the torso, arms and the middle pieces over to the stove.  I used some 160-degree water to loosen up the plastic arms, and then fit them onto the body.

That required the left arm to be bent upwards a bit, and the right arm was bent sharply upwards and inwards.  Leaving the hand joints and shoulder joints un-glued was critical.  I had to soak the model three more times to tweak the pose so that the hands and pins lined up enough to look straight.

As you can see, it’s not quite straight – the shaft doesn’t line up all that great, and it’s worse from the top.  If you look, you can see that the hands don’t squarely grip the shaft.  However, I drilled the holes through the hands squarely.  If I draw a line on the above photo, you can see that the holes should have been drilled at an angle.

How the weapon ‘should’ line up.

Anyway, that’s how I was able to get a 2-handed pose out of one of the models.  I ink that another could be done with the other pose, but the distance between the hands is significantly longer.  If you were doing shaft replacements, and just using the heads and counterweights, then it could be done.

Anyway, here’s a shot of the whole unit:

Bam! Bastions.

I also kept going with the shields glued on their backs, and it even works with the leader’s add-on tabard thing:

Gotta use the shields!

Attack, that-a-way!

So, this week marked the first week of our local Slow Grow League.  Players have been painting for four weeks already, since one of the rules is that you must play fully painted.  Here’s what everyone brought to the table on Game Night:

Adam’s Legion Force

You can see more of Adam’s stuff over at

Andrew’s Legion Force

Chris’ Retribution Battlegroup

Don’s Protectorate Battlebox

The next three all belong to the same player, Gary.  He’s a painting machine!

Gary’s First Battlegroup

Gary’s Second Battlegroup

Gary’s Third Battlegroup

Jason’s Gators

Kevin’s Skorne Battlegroup

Matt’s Cygnar Battlebox

Nick’s Dwarfs

Nick’s Gorton is converted to look as much like Mr. T as possible, which is pretty awesome!

Paul K’s Cryx

Paul’s Cryx army was purchased, built and painted in an hour so he could play games – Not too shabby considering the glue was still wet when these pictures were taken!

Ron’s Protectorate

Follow Ron’s hobby adventures over at

I played my Cryx Battlebox, which was loads of fun, but still doesn’t quite work for me.  I need more practice with it.

My Cryx Battlebox


All in all, a fun time was had by all.  Stay tuned for more pictures as the 8-week Slow-Grow League continues!

When the 2-player starter hit shelves, I immediately purchased one, as it was the best way for me to supplement my Khador ‘jacks, and get my hands on the new plastic Man-O-Wars.  It also began my Menoth collection.

My Menoth Battle Box

Now, my meta is fairly Khador heavy, so there were also ample opportunities to split these boxes with folks – which gave me another Menoth set.  My spare Crusader will one day be a Fire of Salvation, and the Vanquisher will remain a Vanquisher, or perhaps it’ll become Blood of Martyrs, I’m not sure yet.

But I, like many others, found myself with two units of Cinerators.  Now, I’m a huge fan of shields – I love the idea of the ol’ sword and board.  That said, I couldn’t think of a situation in which I’d want two full units of Cinerators.  So, I started thinking about the differences between the Cinerators and Bastions, and how to bridge it.  Today I’d like to cover my method for putting these often ignored miniatures into use.

For starters, I bits ordered 5 Devout Halberds bits from the online store (And a Bastions Stat Card, too!).  These would be the weapon replacements.  See, that’s really the only differnece between the models.  One unit has swords and shields, the other has polearms.  So, first and foremost, I needed a weapon swap.  Unfortunately, Menoth troops are severely devoid of halberds.  The Devout one though, fits the bill nicely, in my opinion.

The weapon swap works just like brass-rodding a weapon, except you’re substituting the new  weapon for the old, and instead of replacing the shaft with brass rod, we’re pinning everything together.

I clipped just above and below the sword hand, leaving just the clenched fist.  I drilled straight through with my normal pinning bit, and dropped a pin straight through, leaving plenty of length.  I did the same to the Devout Halberd, except this time, the shaft and weapon are the important bits.  They received pin holes, and got glued onto the rod through the fist.  Done!

Now, the shields attach to the arm with a giant peg into a matching hole on the arm.  How on earth do we cover that up?  Easy!  Ribbons!  Menoth models are covered in little ribbons – I’m not sure if they’re symbolic, or what, but they’re everywhere.  So, I trimmed down the excess material on the forearm (which equates to the shield’s handle) getting it into roughly the same size as the other arm.  Then, fill in the hole with green stuff.  Lay down a pair of snakes, and smush them around until you get something vaguely ribbon like.  Top it all off with a tiny blob that you squish flat, and square up into a knot on top.

And, because I just can’t say no to awesome looking shields, I clipped off the pegs, used a blob of green stuff, and stuck them on the Bastion’s backs, ready to use later in the battle.